Simone Weil and The Poem Of Force. From the Fields of Ilion to the Charnel Grounds of Europe
Even as a child, Simone Weil had an understanding of both the deprivations and the depredations of war. At an age when most children can barely see beyond their own shifting desires, Simone Weil had fully grasped the reality and the meaning of sacrifice. She was six years old in 1915 when the immolation of Europe by military force and blind violence had already crossed unspeakable thresholds. In May and June of that year, over one hundred thousand French soldiers lost their lives in the Artois offensive. Three months later, a further one hundred and ninety thousand French soldiers were killed in the three-weeks-long Champagne offensive. In that year alone, nearly two million French soldiers, over a million British soldiers, and over six hundred thousand German soldiers had been killed in an insane mutual slaughter that saw little if any change in the battle lines of the Western Front.
Simone Weil's father, a doctor, had been conscripted for medical service soon after the outbreak of the war. Travelling with her family from base to base, Simone came to know at close range the tragic reverberations of war. At the age of six, she quietly announced at the family table that she would no longer eat sugar but would send her portions to the French soldiers on the Front. This small act was to be the first of many such gestures of identification with the oppressed and the afflicted throughout her life. . . .
In addition to this essay, a PDF copy of Mary McCarthy's superb translation of Simone Weil's "The Poem of Force" is also available for download from the opposite column.
This post, together with embedded video of Simone Giurgea in an interpretive performance of Simone Weil's Poem of Force may be viewed in situ at: http://thehealingprojectweblog.blogspot.com.au/2017/11/simone-weil-and-poem-of-force-from.html
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